The other day I was chatting with a friend who had recently watched the film, ‘Dhol’. She liked the movie. I’d found it dismal. There were some glaring factors such as the staid storyline and boring Priyadarshan sequences that involving hordes of running people and Rajpal Yadav getting slapped unnecessarily. There were those cherries on the stale cake - Tanushree Datta’s absolutely insipid performance (and one cannot blame her as she has to choose her suitor from amongst Kunal Khemu, Tushar Kapoor, Sharmaan Joshi, and Rajpal Yadav. Collectively, these gentlemen form the platter of blah.) But the reason I dismiss off the film as I would dump used tissue paper in the can is this: the plots that were used to get laughs are deplorable.
The movie begins with the four actors having tea at a stall. Rajpal Yadav notices a van full of men whiz past. He can hear a woman screaming from inside. He goads his friends to follow the van and rescue the girl, who seems to be getting gang-raped in a closed van.
They manage to stop the van and pull out the men and bash them up. Later, they peek into the van only to see a pregnant woman in the final stages of labor, screaming to be taken to the hospital. (Cue to whistle, clap, and laugh.)
Now, I understand that there is no accounting for taste and you don’t intellectualize over something that was obviously meant to get a few ha-has, but…rape and labor pain... Really?
Now, my response to some films do indicate that maybe I don’t have a sense of humor. Because the chuckle-factor in several movies escapes me. I don’t find infidelity funny. So ‘No Entry’ with all its analogies of comparing the wife to a reliable car and an affair to a test drive is abominable. I don’t see why a joke should be made out of a wife’s naivete while her husband swines through his mid-life crisis. I don’t get the joke in 4 men being voyeurs and peeping into a girls room (Golmaal and Dhol), all the while, deciding among themselves that one of them will be the girl’s husband. So, that basically means, that until the girl marries one of them, each of the guys is okay with his friends ogling at her.
For some reason, I didn’t laugh at that scene in that horrible film (starring Shah Rukh Khan as a cupid with a weak heart) where Preity Zinta goes to a club with Saif and Shah Rukh and they spike her drink to get her uninhibited. I mean, that is scary stuff. You go with your trusted pals and that’s what they do when you’re not looking and yes, you’re lucky if the worst that has happened is that you danced to an inane song on a table-top.
And then there is Salaam Namaste that is el pathetico. I mean, that ordeal of trying to sit through the comic situations while woman anguishes over delivering a baby is...I run out of words here but I sufficiently cringe at the memory. (And Zinta’s pregnant tummy looks artificial to boot.)
I know I am being judgmental. However, I feel that there is just something wrong with this collusion between the movie people and audience…this shared secret understanding that they will laugh at scenes where rape or molestation or voyeurism or pregnancy is mocked. Maybe such movies should come with a disclaimer that discerning audience may find certain scenes reprehensible.
I don’t know what that will solve but, maybe, it will get a few chuckles. And that makes everything okay, doesn’t it?